As we march into the offseason, there are lots of different ways we all see the Wizards' future unfolding. All of the optimists among us rightfully see this season's success as the first step in a larger, long-term plan.
As Mike and BNIE argued this week, one way to do that would be to capitalize on all of the success and swing for the fences. While that line of reasoning excites me, it also makes me a bit apprehensive.
Yes, the Eastern conference is weak. And yes, the Wizards are well-positioned with a backcourt duo of Bradley Beal and John Wall. But this team is far from perfect, its local and national following are far from vibrant and the long-term strategy is still murky. Most importantly, though, the franchise is not ready for a big name. Thus, I think the Wizards need to hold off on making big moves until at least next year's trade deadline, if not until the following offseason.
There have been a handful of big names thrown around this year who may move before the start of next season; Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, and Carmelo Anthony are probably the biggest names out there at the moment. But big stars want two things: a chance to compete for a title and money. Yes, I'm sure there are a lot of other things that factor into their calculations of where to go or why to stay, but "Can I win here?" and "Is this good for my career and my loved ones?" are two huge motivators.
And right now, off one successful season, the Wizards only have "money" to offer. There's no history of stability. There's actual a rather lengthy history of instability. That's not to say this year's achievements weren't real, it's just that it was just one year. What evidence does a guy like Chris Bosh have, for example, that this team can help him continue the kind of success he's experiencing in Miami? One year doesn't give a big name free agent -- one that wants to win a title -- the security or confidence he needs to know he's in the right spot to get there.
This team has been mediocre for a long time. Long before its last playoff appearances, even. It needs to be good for longer than one season. Then, when it has shown it can continue to be good and stable, it will make itself an attractive destination to everyone.
The Wizards were able to mop the floor with the Bulls and take the Pacers to six games in the playoffs, all but ensuring several national television appearances next season, as well as an increased local fanbase. A smart cap and roster management strategy this offseason would help incrementally build on that success, and more people would be able to enjoy a team that already features multiple exciting players ... it's just that no one but local fans and League Pass faithful knew it.
This team is just starting to build a real, lasting foundation, and it can't get greedy and risk ruining the project before it gets off the ground. They're in the middle of making the leap from mediocre to good. They need to cement down good so they can make the jump to great next season. And before we know it, they'll be ready to make the jump to elite.
I want the Wizards to make it to elite; I really do. But they're not ready to take that leap. Not yet.